All,
As I've not been endowed with Pirsig's e-mail address I thought to write this open letter I hope to pertain to all those who are present. I remember how Pirsig complained during the Baggini interview about Baggini not asking him about the Metaphysics of Quality, so I thought maybe somebody should ask something.


In order to approach the topic of my inquiry, let's consider the following ZAMM quote. This quote defines subjectivity and objectivity and the uses of these concepts. Emphasis by me.

"Time to get on with the Chautauqua and the second wave of crystallization, the metaphysical one. This was brought about in response to Phædrus' wild meanderings about Quality when the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: ``Does this undefined `quality' of yours exist in the things we observe?'' they asked. ``Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?'' It was a simple, normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer. Hah. There was no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a haymaker, a Saturday-night special...the kind you don't recover from. Because if Quality exists in the object, then you must explain just why scientific *instruments* are unable to detect it. You must suggest *instruments* that will detect it, or live with the explanation that instruments don't detect it because your whole Quality concept, to put it politely, is a large pile of nonsense. On the other hand, if Quality is subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like."

In LILA Pirsig presents the idea that social quality and intellectual quality are subjective. If so, how can they be detected by scientific *instruments*?

We all probably can agree that BDI (Beck Depression Inventory) is an instrument. Yet it is a mere questionnaire - a slip of paper, on which the test subject selects certain answers and, according to these answers, the psychiatrist determines how depressed the subject is. But even though BDI is clearly an instrument, perhaps depression is biological. And if depression is biological it is objective - not subjective - according to the SODV stance that Pirsig already presents in LILA.

If social and intellectual quality are subjective, as Pirsig claims in LILA and SODV, according to the above ZAMM quote instruments should be unable to detect them. Well, are instruments unable to detect them?

Here's the abstract of a scientific paper at http://cpa.sagepub.com/content/45/7/607.short:

"This paper reviews some recent research on the mental health of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis of Canada. We summarize evidence for the social origins of mental health problems and illustrate the ongoing responses of individuals and communities to the legacy of colonization. Cultural discontinuity and oppression have been linked to high rates of depression, alcoholism, suicide, and violence in many communities, with the greatest impact on youth. Despite these challenges, many communities have done well, and research is needed to identify the factors that promote wellness. Cultural psychiatry can contribute to rethinking mental health services and health promotion for indigenous populations and communities."

This is definitely about social matters, not just biological matters. But is this science? Scientific truth is objective. If social and intellectual matters are subjective, this paper is not science. Yet it has passed peer-review and obviously appears to be science. Obviously some kind of *instruments* have been used in the production of this scientific result. According to the LILA/SODV stance this should be impossible because social and intellectual patterns are subjective.

So, what does it mean that social and intellectual values are subjective instead of objective? If they can be objectively detected, they are necessarily objective. But in the SODV paper Pirsig doesn't even present an overlap between the subjective and the objective. They are portrayed as strictly different. Why?

Regards,
Tuk
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